Adrenaline-inducing luxury toys
Not so long ago, motorcycles were considered a cheap form of transport for the masses: cheap to buy, cheap to run, no frills included. But there’s now another side to motorcycling and it’s a world of exotic materials, outrageous performance, exclusivity and desirability. We’ve picked out some of the most exotic production motorcycles on Earth to set your pulses racing. Meet the magnificent seven.
1 KAWASAKI H2R PRICE: US$ 55,000
Without doubt, the Kawasaki H2R is the most extreme production motorcycle ever built. It produces a ludicrous 310bhp, is fitted with a supercharger, and is easily capable of over 200mph, as well as accelerating from 0-60mph in just 2.6 seconds. Even a Formula 1 car would struggle to beat this beast away from the traffic lights. As well as its awesome 999cc, four-cylinder, supercharged engine, the H2R (which is the track-focused version of the road-legal H2 machine) is bristling with electronic rider aids including launch control, traction control and engine-braking control – all of which can be switched off if you’re brave enough. The H2R is an exercise in going way over the top but that’s exactly what Kawasaki intended: it’s a pure showcase of what the Japanese firm can do and if you were playing Motorcycle Top Trumps, this would be the winning card every time.
2 HONDA RC213V- S PRICE: US$ 185,000
If you’re a fan of MotoGP (motorcycling’s equivalent to Formula 1) then this is the closest you can get to owning and riding one of the multimillion-dollar prototypes raced by the likes of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. Honda’s RC213V-S is basically a MotoGP bike with lights, indicators and a registration plate. The 999cc V-Four engine may only produce 159bhp in standard trim, but add the Sports Kit parts and you’re looking at an eye-watering 215bhp. And the bike is so light (170kg) and revs so high that it threatens to rip your arms from their sockets. With fly-by-wire throttle, three power modes, nine-stage traction control, four-stage engine braking control and a quickshifter, the RC213V-S is as much about advanced electronics as it is about hand-built carbon fibre bodywork, magnesium wheels and MotoGP-level suspension and brakes. This is hand-built perfection.
3 BROUGH SUPERIOR SS100 PRICE: US$ 60,000
Known as the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles, the Brough Superior SS100 was made famous in the 1930s by the endorsement of a certain TE Lawrence (of Arabia) who owned eight of the exquisite machines. The firm was revived in 2013 when Brough relaunched under new ownership and the first result was this beautifully designed and handcrafted machine that’s every bit as exclusive as the originals (which now fetch over £100,000/US$140,000). While the styling of the new Brough pays homage to its famous ancestor, the technology is all new and cutting edge, much of it handcrafted in-house. With a 997cc V-Twin motor, titanium/steel frame, Fior-type cast aluminium forks and Ohlins suspension, the SS100 is the ultimate builtto-order gentleman’s motorcycle, combining all the style, glamour and elegance of a bygone age with the kind of technology that 21st-century riders have come to expect.
4 DUCATI SUPERLEGGERA PRICE: US$ 97,000
Ducati’s stunning 1299 Superleggera is the most powerful twin-cylinder production bike in the world – and also one of the most exclusive. Dripping in carbon fibre, it weighs just 156kg (dry) and makes 215bhp, giving it the power-to-weight ratio of a World Superbike Championship machine. To help control all that power, there’s a complex Bosch electronics package which even includes a “slide control” function and the chassis, wheels, subframe, bodywork and swingarm are all made of carbon fibre. The 1299cc V-Twin engine is also crafted from exotic materials including magnesium, titanium and lightweight aluminium. This is not a motorcycle for amateurs – it has the hyper-aggressive, knife-edge performance of a thoroughbred race bike (which is essentially what it is) and is aimed at very experienced, and very wealthy, track-day addicts.
5 HARLEY-DAVIDSON HARLEY DAVIDSON CVO LIMITED PRICE: STARTING FROM US$ 45,000
If out-and-out speed and performance aren’t your thing but you still want a sense of exclusivity when you ride, then this limited-edition Harley-Davidson CVO has all the bells and whistles thrown at it. Based around the new 117 engine (which, at 1,923cc is Harley’s biggest and most powerful to date), it produces an astonishing 122ft/ lb of torque, which is enough to ripple the Tarmac as you pull away from traffic lights. The CVO even has a stereo fitted with 900 watts of speaker power to announce your arrival! That’s right, a stereo on a motorcycle, and there’s an electronic tyre pressure monitoring system too. This is plushness taken to extremes – the CVO is the highestspecification Harley-Davidson you can buy.
6 CONFEDERATE G2 P51 COMBAT FIGHTER PRICE: US$ 97,000
You want real exclusivity and a motorcycle that looks like no other? Look no further. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt both have Confederate motorcycles in their collections and since only 61 of these Combat Fighters will be built, you may well find yourself having to fight off Hollywood stars to buy one. It features a massive 2,163cc V-Twin engine that the makers claim produces 200bhp, and what could be cooler than riding a motorcycle whose styling cues are taken from the iconic P51 Mustang warplane? The Combat Fighter is guaranteed to pull a crowd whenever you park it up, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll never spot another one on the road – unless you ride the same roads as Cruise and Pitt.
7 MV AGUSTA F4 RC PRICE: US$ 46,500
The new-for-2018 MV Agusta F4 RC is surely one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built. The F4 has been around for years now but this RC version is the highest-spec version to date. With the race kit fitted it will pump out 202.5bhp from its 998cc inline four-cylinder engine, which boasts a central camchain and radial valves. The RC is also exclusive as only 250 will be built by the Italian factory. The bike comes with a number 37 on the nose to celebrate the 37 world titles won by MV Agusta in its 1960s and 70s heyday.